This Incident From 2010 is Why China Fears U.S. Navy Missile Submarines

By: Ene Ayegba | Last updated: Oct 23, 2023

Recently, a submarine belonging to US Navy surfaced at the Busan port of South Korea. Due to the military affiliations of the South Korean Peninsula with the US, the country is often kept under watch by North Korea and China.

China and North Korea understand the lethal capabilities of the US Navy’s underwater vessels. Besides, the two countries seem to draw precedence from a 2010 incident and feel threatened by the presence of US military gear in the Indo-Pacific sea.

The Backstory

Despite multiple cautions from other world powers, North Korea’s seat of power—Pyongyang—has persisted in testing its solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles in the sea it has in common with South Korea.


Source: Flickr

So, to put the unguarded military activities of Pyongyang in the region, the US, Japan, and South Korea have initiated a joint military drill. This will prepare the US allies for any missile attacks in the future.


The Symbolism of the US Submarines

The submarines in the fleet of the US Navy are by no means meant for New Year fireworks or deep-sea exploration. On the contrary, they are submarines that carry ballistic missiles and are part of the nuclear capabilities that qualify the United States as a world power.


Source: Getty Images

The US has 18 Ohio-class submarines roaming the depths of the Earth’s sea, ready to deploy a nuclear warhead when given notice from the appropriate authorities.

Largest Muscles of the US Military

Interestingly, these Ohio-class Submarines, also called boomers, are reported to carry about half of all US active nuclear warheads. Ohio-class submarines held the medal for the world’s largest submarine, with a length of about 560 ft and water displacement of up to 16,000 tons. It, however, lost the title after the Soviet Union launched its Typhoon class of submarines.


Source: Twitter

However, after a 2002 Russo-American Treaty, the US agreed to equip only 14 Ohio-class vessels with nuclear warheads while the other four carry non-nuclear ballistic missiles.

A Show of Power

Before the recent surfacing of a US submarine in the Busan port, a similar confrontation happened in 2010. At the time, military hostilities had just begun between the US and China, and three Ohio-class vessels surfaced simultaneously in the Indo-Pacific sea.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

The surfacing of the Ohio-class submarines is a reminder to China, and this time North Korea, of the nuclear capabilities of the US. The US is doing all it can to protect the vested interest of its allies in the Indo-Pacific region.